by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
It seemed like a title shot was looming on the horizon when Gray Maynard stepped into the Octagon with Nate Diaz last week. When the fight was over Maynard came away with a split decision victory, but the title shot went to Frankie Edgar instead.
While nothing was ever guaranteed, Maynard does hold a victory over Edgar and the cards all seemed in place for him to get the shot. To hear the Las Vegas based fighter tell it though, more factors played into the decision than just records and who beat who.
“I didn’t really look into it that deep,” Maynard said about his own title opportunity. “I just knew that I had a tough guy and I had to win, and then afterwards I was like, hey, whatever the plan is. After a couple hours it was like if they want B.J. Penn to go again in early April, it’s going to be a championship bout. So that puts me at about a 12-week training camp. So that means I would have already had to be in training camp a day ago.”
Maynard is completely comfortable leaving his career in the hands of the UFC, and when the decision came down that Edgar would get the shot, he knew it was all part of the road he still has to travel.
“I think Dana (White) and Joe (Silva) are really good at knowing what will work and a plan and stuff like that,” Maynard commented. “I think they already knew that Edgar was who they would choose just because he was done. I think his last one was in December, and he was going to be prepared to go. I think it was more of a timing thing.”
Still, some fighters would let it get under their skin that a fighter they defeated is getting a title shot in front of them, but Maynard holds no ill will towards Edgar. He understands why it happened.
“It’s a business,” Maynard commented. “These guys have been doing it for a long time and they have a plan, the ultimate plan, and I’ve just got to be a part of that. I know I’ll keep going and I know it will come. I just have to keep on track.”
Where that track takes him next is unknown. Maynard isn’t the kind of fighter to call anybody out and when names like Kenny Florian or Takanori Gomi come up, he simply says “yes” to any offer.
“I haven’t ever turned down a scrap and I think probably ever since Edgar I’ve taken all the ones that nobody else wants,” he said.
It seems like a late Spring/early Summer fight would fit Maynard’s agenda, and the former “Ultimate Fighter” competitor has an open door policy to any and all challengers who would step in the cage against him.